First Run Features' latest new releases include the riveting Israeli drama Mountain, the exclusive iTunes release of a remastered version of "visual treat" (Variety) Proteus, and Shallow Waters, a probing doc about ethics, morality and mental illness, available exclusively on Vimeo.
A film by Yaelle Kayam
81 minutes, fiction, color, Hebrew w/ English subtitles, 2015
In Mountain, a young Orthodox Jewish woman becomes involved with a nocturnal community of prostitutes and drug dealers.
Zvia lives with her family in the Jewish cemetery on Jerusalem's Mount of Olives. During the day, while her husband and children are at school, she is left alone on the mountain. She goes for walks in the cemetery, trying to escape the endless house work. One night, to her surprise, she is exposed to an unsettling sexual scene. Stirred by this image, she starts exploring this new realm of the mountain, while trying to keep a normal face during her daytime routine. Until she can't anymore.
"The proximity of sin to sacredness…is explored with brilliant clarity and rigorous ambiguity." – The New York Times
"Yaelle Kayam's starkly original first feature about good and evil is a head-turner. Blessed with a riveting central performance by newcomer Shani Klein in a role thatkeeps you guessing what's next." – The Hollywood Reporter
"A vast cemetery on the slopes of the Mount of Olives is the striking setting for Kayam's subtle, handsome debut feature. Impressively balancing the predictable with the unexpected, the first-time feature writer-director weaves a complex portrait…graced with a breakthrough performance from Shani Klein." – Variety
UPC: 720229917223 | Catalog #: FRF917223D | DVD MSRP: $19.95
For the 19th century, the world beneath the sea was both the ultimate scientific frontier and the home of imagination and the fantastic. Newly remastered exclusively for iTunes, Proteus explores the 19th century's engagement with the undersea world through science, technology, painting, poetry and myth.
The central figure of the film is biologist and artist Ernst Haeckel, who found in the depths of the sea an ecstatic and visionary fusion of science and art. His work profoundly influenced not only biology, but Art Nouveau and Surrealism, Sigmund Freud and D.H. Lawrence, Vladimir Lenin and Thomas Edison. Through extraordinary animation, Proteus brings Haeckel's vision to life.
"Thrilling! Brain food that goes down like brain candy." – San Francisco Bay Guardian
"A one-of-a-kind visual treat! May cause audiences to look at (and think about) the world around them in dramatically different terms." – Variety
"Magnificent…wonderful! Like strolling through a cabinet of wonders." – TV Guide
Remastered Version Now Available Exclusively on iTunes
A film by Jaime Longhi
32 minutes, documentary, color, English, 2015
How does a mentally ill person drown himself in a few feet of water on a crowded Memorial Day beach?
A tall, middle-aged, fully dressed man walks up to his shoulders into the cold shallow waters of San Francisco Bay; and he waits. Police and Fire units respond in droves; and they wait. A good-sized crowd watches and waits as the sand in the man's hourglass runs out. Succumbing to the cold and rising tide, the man loses consciousness within the hour. His body is left to drift slowly back to shore…and still, they wait.
Winner of multiple awards – including Best Documentary (New Hope Film Festival 2016) – and screened at the convention of the American Psychological Association (2016), Shallow Waters deconstructs the events of that hour in an attempt to understand what happened and why. What were they all waiting for?
"'Shallow Waters' is a lyrical and haunting documentary that asks penetrating questions about the value of human life and what has become of the social contract. As good independent media does, it tells us not what to think but tells us what to think about. The public drowning of Raymond Zack was a deeply disturbing incident. As we gently unpeel the layers of what happened that day, the ramifications bear deeply on what it is to be human in the 21st century." – Tracy Rosenberg, Executive Director, Media Alliance
"The film's subject is hard to believe, that something like this could happen and no one would just step up for a life. The film doesn't really give answers; it creates more questions about our morality, red tape and how we respond to the mentally ill. It was an important film to screen." – Skye Kelly, Director, Awareness Film Festival (L.A.)
"I saw several films during the festival here and 'Shallow Waters' was by far the most moving documentary among them. I think what makes the film so compelling is that it brings up so many issues: our ethical responsibility to each other; the many ways in which our bureaucracies can fail us; our mistrust – our well-founded mistrust – of the community services that are supposed to be protecting us. We all – every single one of us – walked out of that documentary pondering the most important question of all that is posed by that incident: what would I have done? That includes me." – Michael McLeod, Professor, Rollins College / Global Peace Film Festival (Orlando, FL)